OPINION: City of Milton Descends into Caustic Circus Run by Madhat Mayor

Posted on August 1, 2023 by EDITORIAL BOARD

It’s hard for the Milton City Council to get any actual work done lately because current Mayor Heather Lindsay is an ineffective leader who allows meetings to turn into a circus of citizens running back and forth to the microphone, disrupting council meetings.

Decorum has been tossed aside, and mayhem prevails in The City Where Good Living Flows, supposedly.

Unlike orderly public forums at county commission meetings, citizens walk up to the microphone at any time during council meetings to interrupt and interject.

Many of those citizens, some of whom lost a race to serve on the council or were defeated in their re-election bid, seem overly embittered.

Lindsay takes up time during council meetings, reading “anonymous” letters into the record to shore up whichever side she’s taking at any given moment. If she agrees with a speaker, she allows them to run on. If she disagrees, she tries to shut them down.

She became incensed when a special meeting was called by someone else and took up meeting time digging into the process that lead up to it. How dare they! Perhaps it brought up painful memories of when she was fired from being the City Attorney?

While there will always be discontent citizens, those who thrive on toxicity are running amok during city council meetings under Lindsay’s so-called leadership. The melee even attracts non-residents, including those who admittedly come for the “entertainment.”

The council should establish some policies to rein in its Ringleader Mayor.

Start by emulating how county commission meetings are run. During those meetings, there is a separate time allocated for public forum, starting one hour prior to board meetings. During public forum citizens are afforded only one opportunity to speak for up to four minutes at a time. They can’t run roughshod. They must sign up to speak, wait to be called in order of the sign-in sheet and then provide their name and city of residence before beginning. A timer starts and a buzzer goes off when time has expired.

During an actual commission meeting, citizens are allowed to speak multiple times but only on topic for the agenda item being discussed at the moment. They form a line behind the podium, and the four-minute limit still applies. Also, commissioners typically have a preliminary discussion about the agenda item before asking if there is any related public comment before voting.

What I witnessed during last night’s council meeting was ludicrous. It was the most poorly run local government meeting I’ve witnessed in more than 23 years attending and watching them.

The council should take immediate action to restore decorum at its meetings. Yes, everyone should have their say; however, it should be done orderly and with respectfulness.

If the council will clean up its public forum format, it will go a long way to restoring dignity and decorum to council meetings. And maybe elected officials can get back to work instead of dealing with drama.